With so many people still quarantined at home, getting deliveries of food, clothing, and other household staples has becoming increasingly important. And starting on Sept. 15, Amazon Prime is going be facing a major new competitor in Walmart+.
Following an initial 15-day trial, Walmart+ will cost $98 a year or $12.95 a month, with the biggest draw being free deliveries on orders over $35. Currently, more than 4,700 Walmart stores will be offering some kind of benefit to Walmart+ subscribers, with 2,700 of those locations offering delivery “as fast as same day.” In addition to free deliveries on orders over $35, Walmart+ is also promising more than 160,000 items will be available for same-day delivery.
Other benefits of Walmart+ include fuel discounts of up to 5 cents a gallon at almost 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express locations (with Sam’s Club participation coming “soon”), and support for Scan & Go in stores, which allows customers to scan items using the Walmart app on their phones and check out without needing to stop at a register.
Current members of Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited service will be rolled over to Walmart+. According to Techcrunch, items designated for delivery will be picked out by Walmart staff in stores before being handed off to a number of partners like Postmates, DoorDash, and others in order to reach their final destination.
In a statement sent out to the media, Walmart chief customer officer Janey Whiteside said, “We’re not launching Walmart+ with the intent to compete with anything else. We’re launching it with the needs of customers in mind,” which sounds reasonable in a vacuum. However, with Amazon having recently reported Q2 revenue that was up 40% over last year due in large part to online orders made during the pandemic, it’s clear Walmart is hoping to steal some deliveries away from customers who might have otherwise made purchases on Amazon.
That said, while a subscription to Walmart+ costs $20 less than Amazon Prime’s yearly fee of $119, Amazon Prime comes with a much wider range of perks, including Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Gaming (formerly known as Twitch Prime), groceries via Prime at Whole Foods Market, and more in addition to free two-day shipping.
So while it might be somewhat depressing to see two megacorps battling to claim their share of delivery orders during the pandemic, a little extra competition should be good for the average person.